This is a second post to supplement tonight’s study. Tonight we’re going to look at some of the roots of our common battle with anxiety. Back in the beginning of 2015 we took a Monday night to look at some practical ways to fight the battle. I thought the notes were posted and I could just repost them, but I wasn’t able to find them on the blog. So I must have never actually put them here. Well…here they are.
[Note: Nothing here should be taken to imply that there aren’t other ways to battle anxiety. Sometimes we need things that doctors prescribe, for instance.]
This is a study of two passages that both deal with the subject of anxiety. the notes refer to the verse numbers of both passages, and then make observations and applications from each verse. (So you’ll need to read this with your bible to understand the references.)
Verse 25: “Do not worry” is simply commanded. This must mean that this can be obeyed.
Verses 26-31: 1st way to battle anxiety: Understand what life is not about. This teaching “is directed against the error that denies God’s care and love by supposing that we can secure our own future by temporarily securing what we need for our daily lives.” (Quote from the NIDNTT)
Verses 31-32: 2nd way to battle anxiety: Remember you have a Father, in heaven, who’s near, who cares.
The difference: we live in a universe inhabited by God. And this God is our Father. He exists, and he relates to us personally.
Remember Genesis 3: “They knew they were naked.” To stand in our own humanity, without God, facing a world where God isn’t there, is the root of all anxiety in human existence. (Heads up: This relates to the core of tonight’s study.) “We imagine ourselves delivered to a fate before which we stand powerless. We try to protect ourselves as best we can from what confronts us.” (that quote is also from the NIDNTT.) So Jesus says, “You have a Father. He’s the Father in Heaven.” (6:6, 7:11)
Verse 33: 3rd way to battle anxiety: Actively pursue the eternal things which make up God’s kingdom.
See 2 Corinthians 4:18 “We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” And Hebrews 10:34…They “joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.”
Verse 34: 4th way to battle anxiety: Do faithfully what needs to be done today. Living by the day. Pray for daily bread (6:11)
Now check out Philippians 4:6-9.
Verse 6: 5th way to battle anxiety: Don’t give yourself any excuses. (Be anxious for nothing).
6th way to battle anxiety: Pray instead of worrying. (This is the application of Jesus’ teaching on the fact that we have a heavenly father. If we do, whenever we sense worry rising up, we should remember God is there, and involve him in our thinking be speaking to him immediately.
Verse 7: The result: God’s peace guards us, in away that gives us peace without having everything figured out.
Verse 8: 7th way to battle anxiety: Think about things that please God.“Let your mind continually dwell” on these things. What I feed my mind with determines how I experience anxiety. Much of today’s “mind food” not only offers the opposite of Paul’s list, but operates in a world without God.
Verse 9: 8th way to battle anxiety: Find good examples, and put into practice what you learn from them. One essential question–Am I practicing what I already know? Peace is not achieved solely in the mind, God grants it as we pursue and live out what He’s taught.
Again, this list is not exhaustive. But I do think it’s essential, in the sense that these things are real, essential tools in our struggle. Hopefully you find them to be practically helpful in yours